Toll-like receptors, their ligands, and atherosclerosis.
Atherosclerosis is a disease characterized by inflammation in the arterial wall. Atherogenesis is dependent on the innate immune response involving activation of Toll-like receptors (TLRs) and the expression of inflammatory proteins. TLRs, which recognize various pathogen-associated molecular patterns, are expressed in various cell types within the atherosclerotic plaque. Microbial agents are associated with an increased risk of atherosclerosis and this is, in part, due to activation of TLRs. Recently considerable evidence has been provided suggesting that endogenous proteins promote atherosclerosis by binding to TLRs. In this review, we describe the role of TLRs in atherosclerosis with particular emphasis on those atherogenic endogenous proteins that have been implicated as TLR ligands.
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